How Losing a Kidney can be a Blessing

It all started with some acid reflux which was nothing new for me. I usually drink one sachet of Gaviscon and the discomfort goes away. But this was different. After a few sachets, it was still there. I didn’t mind until I felt the sharp pain on my right flank. It was a blessing also that I constantly talked to a friend who happened to have a niece who was a doctor. So, it was really convenient to have a consultation. So, she suspected indigestion based on my statement, but after 4 days another pain occurred, so i called her again and told me that if it was indigestion, I should be well on the 3rd day, she asked me to get the whole abdomen ultrasound. I was suspecting that this had something to do with my gallbladder.

Honestly, I didn’t wanna do the test at first, because first,I didn’t want to expose myself outside and second, no one will stay with my kids. But I did the right thing. I asked Mama to come and proceeded with the ultrasound. While the procedure was being done, we noticed that the doctor annotated the image with the word “mass”. At the end of it, she explained the result and recommended a CT scan. That did not sound good. 

I was afraid and I cried but at the same time I still felt okay physically, mentally, and spiritually. Although I became anxious occasionally, generally I felt fine and calm.

The next few days went by quickly. We consulted with a doctor and also got a second opinion. Both recommended a CT scan and mentioned that it would likely be followed by an operation to remove part of the kidney or worst case to remove the whole kidney. The first doctor told us that this could possibly be cancer. Remember when I said I was calm? That’s true I was really calm because there was something between me and God that comforted me. It was also the first time that I felt sad not because of the diagnosis but because I saw my mom cry because of the situation. She got scared. 

I had the CT Scan and some other tests. At this point in time I was asking God to give me a miracle. (like that the CT scan would show that the mass was not there anymore. We got the results – it was still there. We were referred to a uro-onco-surgeon who told me that we needed to have my right kidney removed. He assured me that I will be fine. He was slightly bothered about some findings in one of the liver sections but he said he was not convinced it metastasized but we still needed to have it checked so that he could remove it if needed. What a relief. At that moment, I was more scared of going through a swab test than the operation.

We went to the hospital to be admitted. My fear of being put to sleep and not knowing if I would still wake up came to mind. I had to call and get an assurance from my doctor that I would still wake up. He said yes and he kinda laughed at me so I felt better. It was at this point that I felt sad for the second time. I told God and myself that I don’t want this to ever happen again. The girls at home were sad and were crying because they could not hug me over a video call. (They cannot sleep without me beside them). I realized that it was so unfair for them to feel this way. They were suffering the consequences of what was happening to me. I also thought of the pain that Jett is masking and the worry and the fear that he must have been keeping to himself. (I was like that when my Papa was battling his sickness.) I do not want the people that I treasure most to be suffering because of me.

The big day came. Early during the day, I had an ultrasound and some other procedure done to check if the spot on the liver was a mass too. But Mama Mary worked on this. The doctors said it was nothing and probably just focal fat. Such great news to hear at the start of the day.

At the scheduled time (12 noon), I was brought to the operating room. I remember the anesthesiologists asked about my last name and if it was mine or I married. He was also from Negros and he was teasing and asking me about the vast haciendas these Gamboas owned. I guess he was just calming me. He was still talking and he put something over my nose and asked me to inhale and exhale. The next thing I knew it was already 3 in the afternoon and I was in the recovery room. My 2 experiences waking up in a recovery room prior to this were exciting moments because I was looking forward to seeing my 2 babies. This time I woke up in awe and very grateful and looking forward to living a brand new life. I did not even mind that I lost one kidney.

The operation was done. My doctor went to Jett and showed him pictures of the kidney that was taken out. He said that based on what it looked like, it was Stage 1 to Stage 2. It was out now and it was an answered prayer. I remember that it was on a Thursday that we confirmed that we really needed to have the operation. That night as we prayed the rosary, we talked about the  second luminous mystery where Mama Mary asked Jesus to perform his first miracle. We asked Mama Mary to ask her Son to heal me. Our prayers were answered.. 

Welcome Anne version 2.0.

Remember that time I was asking God for a miracle to make the mass disappear? I know that did not happen because I had to go through a process that would help me realize many things. Good things.

First, This experience was a prayer answered and revealed to me the authenticity of the people around me. Earlier this year I had this nagging thought about it. Also, I learned who my true friends are and I felt the love from my “village”.

Second, Next to God and our health and well-being, the relationships we form with our people are important. I am touched by all the people around me who helped. From family and friends who became my prayer warriors, the nurse who was a friend of Jett’s tito who assured us that everything that was needed for the operation was in place, to family and friends who helped look for blood donors, friends who brought food, and everyone who sent their well-wishes. I felt God’s love through these people. Throughout this experience, God has constantly assured me that I have enough prayer warriors.

Third, that we really have to love and appreciate our body. Our body is God’s temple and we honor him by taking good care of it. Taking care of it does not just mean the physical aspect. We also take care of it by always choosing to be happy and by forgiving others.

I have to take care of my chakras – the concentrated energy centers of our body. They have to be balanced and well. When the chakra is disrupted and damaged, it can cause several problems in our lives including physical, emotional health, and our mental state.

Fourth, It has been said many times that “Health is Wealth”. We’ve always said this to the kids but this time it is not just someone else’s story that we are sharing. This experience will always help us remember. As much as it is for us, it is also a message for our extended family to take of themselves always.

Fifth, there were times when I was afraid (getting the tests done, not waking up after the operation) and Jett reminded me of the story of Jesus walking on the water. In that story, Jesus invited Peter to go down from the boat and walk on the water and go to Him. He calls on us to walk on the water even if we are surrounded by a storm and are afraid. There is nothing to fear because He is always with us and just like Jesus was waiting for Peter, He is always there waiting and will never leave us. Fear will always be there and might make us sink but as long as we fix our gaze on Him we will prevail.

Sixth, Mama Mary is another hero in our story. She has always been with us and has always answered our prayers everytime we ask her.

Seventh, our angels are always active around us. Throughout this process I have been constantly assured by the angelic signs that I keep seeing around me. They were always there to comfort me.

I told God even before the procedure that I will tell this beautiful story. It took me a week before I was able to do it. I was afraid that this might just become entertainment to other people. But then I realized that this story is not about me. This is about God and that I am so blessed to be able to tell His story that I was a part of. Our family, especially our kids, often read about the miracles found in the Bible. It is a surreal experience to be part of a miracle. To be part of a story that we can share with other people.

Even before this happened, the Anne version 1.0 life was generally good. I am very much aware of the many blessings I have in my life. I am really grateful which is why I want to share our blessings in any way I can.

The greatest blessing that I have ever received – Anne version 2.0 – will definitely be better. I feel like I am renewed. This is my second life and I really want to start clean. I have forgiven people who have done wrong to me (this has forever been my issue – I don’t know if I never forgive or I never forget).

I have learned my lessons from Anne version 1.0, This time I will just let go and let God. I will be wiser. Wiser in choosing my battles. Wiser in choosing my friends. Wiser in choosing who the people I want to be in my life. Wiser in the food that I eat. Wiser in choosing happiness over any form of negativity. I will celebrate small wins, be generous in giving affirmations, and learn to say no.

Life is short. Let’s not waste a single minute. Share your blessings. We are blessed to bless others. God is faithful. He will never leave us.

Why we are homeschooling

[Hi everyone! Sharing with you why we are homeschooling written by Jett. Enjoy!]

Early this year, when we first publicly shared that we were planning to homeschool our kids, many of our family and friends were surprised. [Some of them already know 😊] After all, we’ve been going to “regular school” for the past almost 6 years and it seemed strange to suddenly take a different path. [We actually got a lot of questions, but I only want to share one answer from those questions: We’re not trying to do school at home, we’re trying to do homeschool-an education lifestyle 😊]

What many people do not know is that even before Summer started going to playschool, we were already seriously considering homeschooling. At that time, however, we felt that we were not ready. We were afraid of failing because the consequences will be disastrous for them. Having come from traditional schools we were also afraid that they will miss out on all the experiences in a “normal” school (growing up with school friends, misadventures with classmates, …).

There was one thing that we were sure of – we did not want them to be in a traditional school. [One of the reasons why my kids are not in Chinese school, I know how it goes, and I feel like leading them to take another path. Though taking Mandarin classes is non-negotiable. Please don’t get me wrong, I love my roots 🐲] We wanted an educational system that is student-centered instead of teacher-centered. Fortunately, we learned about the “progressive school” concept. We really liked the low student-teacher ratio and personalized and experiential learning. It seemed to offer the good points of homeschooling without requiring us to handle the teaching part. It as the next best thing so we enrolled them in a progressive playschool (The Little Gym  Pasig-Mandaluyong) and preschool (Multiple Intelligence International School). [Grateful to have been to these schools. We would have stayed if we did not decide to homeschool]

Fast forward to this year, the idea of trying homeschooling came up again. Now seemed to be a perfect time. [Yeah. You know that strong feeling when you aligned with the universe and agreed to just do it?]

We are very hands-on parents. We bring them and pick them up from school every day. We also make it a point to ask them what they did in school. We also help them when they have school projects and when they need to study for quizzes. We also take the opportunity to teach them new things whenever we go to some new place or when we try something new.

We then realized that we were already doing some of the things that we were afraid of doing. Homeschooling may not be that hard to ease the transition to after all. I guess when you have the best of intentions it brings out the best in you, too. [Yeah. Also, There are no perfect parents, that’s a fact. Jett and I are not perfect, but we always believe that we are the best teachers of these precious girls God gave us. Parents by default give the quality of everything their children need.]

We also learned that we can tap other resources to help us in teaching. For instance, we can enroll them in other activities like music lessons, sports, and art and this would give them the opportunity to socialize with more kids. If eventually, we encounter subjects that are hard to teach [like Trigonometry…] we can always get assistance from tutors from our tutorial center. [..and teachers who are now friends 🥰With this newfound confidence, we decided to make the big decision.

[Shameless Plug: Our tutorial center, Pillars Tutorials is now assisting homeschooling parents in subjects that are challenging to teach.]👍🏻

Why did we decide to make the jump?

First, we want them to cultivate a love of learning. As with all kids, they are very curious and we would like them to be in an environment where they will not be constrained and bounded by a set curriculum. We would like them to keep their curiosity strong by supporting them in the things that they want to pursue. Beyond academics we want them to have the time and freedom to be able to learn new things like a hobby, sport, or a craft because it will make them into well-rounded individuals. Taking an active part in their learning will allow us to tailor-fit their education so that they can pursue their natural inclinations and be the best that they can be.

Second, we want them to be firmly rooted in our family values. Knowledge without values is meaningless. We want them to put their learning into something that will allow them to be a blessing to others. We believe that by having more time with them and being able to tag them along whatever we do will allow us to do this more effectively. [We want them to make a difference using their intelligence along with their hearts. We want them to shine because of their good character first. This is just me, but I think I failed as a Mom or God’s steward if these girls grow up to be bad]

Finally, as someone great once said: “Experience is the best teacher”. We believe that homeschooling would allow us to help them learn through actual experience. Whether it be learning about places and people by going there as part of a family trip or learning entrepreneurship by helping out in our businesses, we want them to learn by exposing them to the real thing. [Our job as parents are not easy whether you’re homeschooling or not.  And even if choosing this path may be harder for us, I believe it’s worth trying because we will learn and grow together. I may be the most impatient individual on earth, but together we will become better] 

The world that they will be joining years from now will have intense global competition. They need to be able to shine in whatever it is that they will discover as we go through this journey together. We believe that putting them in an open, loving, and God-centered environment for learning will help get them there.

[We still have so much to learn and prepare, we are taking one quarter at a time. With God’s grace, He will guide this Gamboa Academy to bear fruit. We hope that you walk with us and pray with us]🙏💖

[Blessings and love to all of you who are reading this.]

Is it too early to teach our children to invest?

Intentional parenting is how we raise our children on the things that matter to us. One of them is saving and investing.

One day, our eldest daughter, Summer asked me where to put all her “earned” money. They were just in her wallet. They have a bank account but we all know how that works, right?✌🏻

Summer already knows her numbers and learned about money. We also started teaching her (and Autumn) about the “wants and needs”. I think it’s best to teach her (and Autumn) about saving and investing.

So I contacted a friend, Autumn’s Ninang, who happens to be a financial advisor who handles our accounts, to meet up and discuss our plan.

Our plan is to teach Summer how to save and manage her OWN investment. We were looking for a financial product where she can put her OWN money (even as small as P500) and watch how it grows. We want her to feel accountable so that 10 or 20 years from now, whatever amount she grows here are all hers. Her own effort.

I asked Karen, our friend, to come up with the lowest policy she can prepare so Summer can start. I’m happy that she will be able to check online how her money grows. I also want her to personally ask Tita Karen her questions one day.

I hope and pray that by doing this, Summer and Autumn will one day value their money and learn how to use it wisely because they worked hard to save and grow it. This will also give them the confidence to start their life after college. This will leave them a good mindset regarding money – to work hard for it and invest it THEMSELVES. Anything they get beyond this (from us) are just BONUS.

I hope you learned something from this post ☺️ Let me know if you are interested so I can connect you to Karen.

Disclaimer: I’m not selling anything nor will I get commission. I’m just sharing 🥰

Balanced relationship activates harmony

Both have roles to provide but in different ways.


Fact: Wives can bring home the bacon, too. While Husbands can be good at managing the household, also.


Point: Relationships are equal parts give and take. So, for me the idea of getting high or giving more weight to the ones who bring home the bacon is unrighteous.☺️

Balanced relationship activates harmony 😉

Please read the article from Smart Parenting:
https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/real-parenting/chores-invisible-workload-a00264-20180914?utm_source=Facebook-SP&utm_medium=Ownshare&utm_campaign=20190317-fbnp-parenting-chores-invisible-workload-a00264-20180914-fbold-hline&fbclid=IwAR3gQrKheOvPv6MPfbt2tpGBwkHDjXWiSNVw7LPDsEIo6WPtAKrL7lvVEns

Have courage and be kind..

I have met many kind people but not brave enough to share their blessings.

I have met a lot of courageous people, but not kind enough to share their blessings.

I have met financially blessed people but not generous enough to share their blessings.

I’m sure they have their reasons, so let’s not focus on them 🤗☺️

I want to talk about our new Admin Assistant named Ron, who brings joy and shares his light to all of us every day!

Ron has autism, but his disability didn’t stop him to live his life to the fullest. He finished school and was able to find a job. 👏🏻👏🏻 This is not his first job and he’s working diligently every day. He greets everyone who comes in and out of the office, and just his presence in the reception area never fails to put a smile on my face.😁 He reminds me of how blessed I am, that we should be grateful every day, and that life is beautiful!

I’d like to honor his Mom for demonstrating courage, kindness, and love. Ron wouldn’t have been who he is today without her courage and love. Her generosity and kindness made everything possible for Ron. Amazing!💖

I haven’t met his dad, but I’m pretty sure he also plays a big part in Ron’s journey.👏🏻

I had the chance to talk to her and learned that she has two sons with autism. I was speechless most of the time. I am humbled and honored I am talking to a real hero.😍 My version of Cinderella.💖

I can’t and I won’t stop sharing things like this. I will not stop reminding whoever is reading this that you are blessed! You are. 👌🏼👍🏻

How are you a blessing today? Will you share this?☺️